Integrity as a way of life is a basic requirement in our society. Yoruba traditional institutions are not an exception to this. An important virtue of every Yoruba Oba is faithfulness, humility and being authentic role models. Thanks to traditional kings like His Royal Majesty Oba Hammed Oyelude Makama, the 13th Olowu of Kuta kingdom, Osun State, Nigeria, who since his coronation eleven years ago, have continued to make integrity the crown of his many qualities.
In Nigeria, one of the reasons for inability to achieve sustainable democracy and development is the failure to harness the traditional political institutions. However, with his regular presence at most top public gatherings in states across the length and breadth of Nigeria, Oba Makama has succeeded in making the involvement of obaship at all social strata essentially important to the success of any policy.
It is, therefore, not surprising that one of the reasons adduced by the immediate past government led by President Muhammadu Buhari for honouring Oba Makama with the national award of Commander of the Order of Niger (CON) is his passion to live up to expectation of his people and being readily prepared to use his royalty for a sustainable democracy and the nation’s development.
There is no doubt that the personality of the individual who leads an institution goes a long way to affect the public perceptions of the institution he represents. It is, thus, important to note that the institution of Obaship in Nigeria owes its credit of regaining relevance in modern governance, to the activities of few of its members, particularly the Olowu of Kuta, whose relevant credentials have helped in repositioning the traditional institutions in Yorubaland for greater recognitions and enhanced positions in modern governance.
Oba Makama traverses bordering and faraway cities in Nigeria carrying along his gospel of modern royal systems that perfectly suit the social, political and economic situations of this era, with the overall goal of improving the welfare of the generality of the people and communities. The message is clear: let the era be gone when alien styles and cultures were imposed and the Obas’ relevance and powers were made subservient to the more educated elite.
Apparently, his ancestral history best illustrates Oba Makama’s courage and candor that is significant in his leadership style. Historically, Anlugbua Akindele, a brave and bold hunter and warrior had led people of Kuta from Orile-Owu to the present location in 1427. Akindele reigned for about 300 years, after which he disappeared into the earth, resulting in the celebration of Anlugbua Festival.
Thus far, with his demonstrable interest in the economic and general welfare of the Kuta people. Oba Makama has sustained this legacy of mastering the workings and principles of the traditional socio-political systems of his people. He is renowned as a veritable networking monarch who uses his influence and personality to attract projects and funds for development to his domain and empowers people across races, tribes and faiths. He is well-informed and well equipped about the current political and socio-economics issues in his community and larger society and champions informed policies that help to benefit not just his community but Nigerians in general. Also, he is father of all in words, deeds and actions and he shows a sympathetic understanding for the traditions, customs and religions of all.
Above all, he is not Oba for the Yoruba alone; he advocates that the unity of the Yoruba race be explored for the collective interest of all ethnic groups in Nigeria.
-Folorunsho Hamsat is the editor of Global Excellence magazine. He writes via email@example.com
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